China simulated an invasion of Taiwan today after dozens of jets and warships crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, according to the island’s Ministry of Defence.
The highly aggressive display of intimidation featuring some 20 Chinese aircraft and 14 ships comes days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei that infuriated Beijing.
Taiwan’s armed forces issued an alert, dispatched air and naval patrols around the island, and activated land-based missile systems in response to the Chinese exercises, the ministry said.
The ministry said that zones declared by China as no-go areas during the exercises for other ships and aircraft had ‘seriously damaged the peace’ in what was effectively a blockade of the island – an act of war by international law.
The Taiwanese military, finding itself in a situation similar to Ukraine in February, emphasised that it did not wish to poke the dragon, but would defend itself if attacked.
The median line has been an unofficial border separating the two warring sides that was drawn by a US general in 1955
China’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement Saturday that it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on ‘testing the capabilities’ of its land strike and sea assault systems.
A French-built Mirage 2000 fighter jet takes off at an airbase in Hsinchu, Taiwan during military alerts as Chinese jets crossed the median line
A Chinese military plane flew on training exercises with the Eastern Theatre Command of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Friday
A PLA serviceman looks through binoculars at Taiwanese frigate Lan Yang cruising the Straits of Taiwan amid a tense stand-off
The highly aggressive display of intimidation comes days after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (pictured in the poster) visit to Taipei that infuriated Beijing
China’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement Saturday that it had carried out military exercises as planned in the sea and airspaces to the north, southwest, and east of Taiwan, with a focus on ‘testing the capabilities’ of its land strike and sea assault systems. Some of the exercises clearly violated Taiwanese sovereign territory
China launched live-fire military drills following Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this week, saying it violated the ‘one-China’ policy. China sees the island as a breakaway province to be annexed by force if necessary, and considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing its sovereignty.
Taiwan’s army also said it detected four unmanned aerial vehicles flying in the vicinity of the offshore county of Kinmen on Friday night and fired warning flares in response.
The four drones, which Taiwan believed were Chinese, were spotted over waters around the Kinmen island group and the nearby Lieyu Island and Beiding islet, according to Taiwan’s Kinmen Defense Command.
Kinmen, also known as Quemoy, is a group of islands only 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) east of the Chinese coastal city of Xiamen in Fujian province in the Taiwan Strait, which divides the two sides that split amid civil war in 1949.
‘Our government & military are closely monitoring China’s military exercises & information warfare operations, ready to respond as necessary,’ Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.
‘I call on the international community to support democratic Taiwan & halt any escalation of the regional security situation,’ she added.
The deputy head of Taiwan defence ministry’s research and development unit was found dead on Saturday morning in a hotel room. Pictured: Tien Kung II Missile Launcher Display at Hukou Camp Ground
The Rocket Force under the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts conventional missile tests into the waters off the eastern coast of Taiwan, from an undisclosed location
Taipei said multiple Chinese jets and warships (pictured) had today crossed the ‘median line’ – the unofficial maritime border between the two
The Chinese military exercises began Thursday and are expected to last until Sunday. So far, the drills have included missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military drills in 1995 and 1996 aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters.
Taiwan has put its military on alert and staged civil defence drills, while the U.S. has deployed numerous naval assets in the area.
The Biden administration and Pelosi have said the US remains committed to a ‘one-China’ policy, which recognises Beijing as the government of China but allows informal relations and defence ties with Taipei. The administration discouraged but did not prevent Pelosi from visiting.
China has also cut off defence and climate talks with the US and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for the visit.
Pelosi said Friday in Tokyo, the last stop of her Asia tour, that China will not be able to isolate Taiwan by preventing US officials from travelling there.
Pelosi has been a long-time advocate of human rights in China. She, along with other lawmakers, visited Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1991 to support democracy two years after a bloody military crackdown on protesters at the square.
Meanwhile, cyberattacks aimed at bringing down the website of Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had doubled between Thursday to Friday, compared to similar attacks ahead of Pelosi’s visit, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency. The ministry did not specify the origin of the attack.
A Taiwanese F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet is seen before landing at Hualien Air Force Base on Saturday
Taiwanese F-5 fighter jets are seen after taking off from Chihhang Air Base on Saturday in response to highly aggressive Chinese drills violating Taiwanese territorial waters
A Taiwanese vessel as seen from a Chinese vessel, indicating how close the rival military assets are from one another in a powder keg situation
Chinese warship Changchun, a Type 052 destroyer, is escorted by the Cheng Kung, a guided-missile frigate, as they sail in the Taiwan Strait
Other ministries and government agencies, such as the Ministry of Interior, also faced similar attacks on their websites, according to the report.
A distributed-denial-of-service attack is aimed at overloading a website with requests for information that eventually crashes it, making it inaccessible to other users.
Also Saturday, the Central News Agency reported that the deputy head of the Taiwan Defence Ministry’s research and development unit, Ou Yang Li-hsing, was found dead in his hotel room after suffering a heart attack. He was 57, and had supervised several missile production projects.
The report said his hotel room in the southern county of Pingtung, where he was on a business trip, showed no signs of intrusion.
Taiwanese overwhelmingly favour maintaining the status quo of the island’s de facto independence and reject China’s demands that the island unify with the mainland under Communist control.
Globally, most countries subscribe to the ‘one-China’ policy, which is a requirement to maintain diplomatic relations with Beijing.
Any company that fails to recognise Taiwan as part of China faces swift backlash, often with Chinese consumers pledging to boycott its products.
On Friday, Mars Wrigley, the manufacturer of the Snickers candy bar, apologized after it released a video and materials featuring South Korean boy band BTS that had referred to Taiwan as a country, drawing swift criticism from Chinese users.
In a statement on its Weibo account, the company expressed ‘deep apologies.’
‘Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,’ the statement said.
In a separate post, the firm added that there is ‘only one China’ and said that ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.’